Knock. Knock. Knock.

•September 17, 2019 • Leave a Comment

knock knock knockThree solid, slow, confident raps penetrated the cocoon of white noise created by the air conditioning and the dense foam of my earplugs. I sat up. The front door? 

Looking at the clock–12:30am–I shook my head and started to settle my head back down. But my mind didn’t stop. What if it was someone trying to get in touch with me about my elderly father? What if I had missed a phone call and he needed me?

I pulled out my earplugs and swung my legs over the side of the bed. After putting on my glasses, I walked to the door–expecting a repeat of the three knocks. Nothing.

The cats were nonplussed–seemingly undisturbed by my atypical nocturnal wanderings or a rap on the door. Honestly, they were nowhere to be seen.

At the front door I stood on my tiptoes–peaking through the high window like I do when trying to evaluate overzealous solicitors. Nothing. Sidestepping to the bigger kitchen windows I looked again. Nothing. A lot of still, lifelessness woefully under-illuminated by the flickering and anemic streetlight. Emptiness.

I padded across the cool terrazzo to the catio door. The screened lanai was empty–bathed in the dim glow of white nightlights. From my office window I could look at most of the back yard without disturbing my wife. So again I walked quietly through the house and peeked through the blinds. Nothing.

Satisfied, I went back to bed and pulled up the covers. Earplugs in hand I listened–mostly to the elevated thumping of my heart. Eventually my pulse settled enough to allow the white noise back into my head. Calmer. I replaced my earplugs and slowly nodded off.

My wife woke before me and was out the door to workout and work before my alarm sounded. I pulled the covers over my face. Something about the confidence of those knocks stuck with me. Solid. Perfectly timed. Three. With those thoughts repeating I languished in half-sleep.

“There’s this girl that’s been on my mind
All the time, Su-Su-Sussudio oh oh…”

I couldn’t whack the clock radio fast or hard enough. Ears aching and heart racing, my mind was distracted–ruminating over why Phil Collins solidly held the top two slots on my list of Worst Songs to Wake Up To. It was enough of an inner dialogue (with Phil repeatedly singing the background music) to temporarily forget about the three knocks and get on with my day.

* **

That evening as I sat in bed reading, I thought about the knocks again–and about mentioning them to my wife. But I didn’t.

Typically,  after she closes her book and her eyes, I’ll put in my earplugs and keep reading. But, this evening I wanted to be more aware–I left my earplugs in my eyeglass case on the nightstand and tried to focus on my book.

My sleep was fitful and when my wife arose early to head to the gym, I again stayed in bed. She closed the bedroom door and I eventually dozed off into a deeper sleep.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

I didn’t bolt upright. I couldn’t–stuck in a slumbering mind-fog. But, I heard the knocks–hadn’t I? I wiped the drool from my mouth, propped myself up and listened–nothing. Had my previous night’s obsession manifested itself in a dream?

Looking at the clock–5:05 a.m.–and realizing I’d managed to get another good hour of sleep, I dragged my body out of bed and started to make the rounds. It was still dark, but there was just enough pre-dawn glow for me to see nothing unusual in the backyard.

At the front door, I again raised up on my tiptoes to peer through the window. White, pupil-less eyes set in a snaggle-whiskered, ashen face stared back. Bearded face edited (2)

I didn’t shout or scream. I stumbled backwards, raced for my phone and the old baseball bat I kept under the bed. On the way back to the front door I noticed the cats were nowhere to be seen. Odd. They must be out on the screened in lanai again–their only real exposure to the outside and a typical refuge from unusual activity.

Again, I looked through the high door window. Nothing. No blank eyes. No ashen face. Deep breath.

I flipped on the front light and turned the deadbolt. After looking behind for the cats–still missing–I opened the door. Before stepping out, I looked down–two, huge muddy footprints were centered on the welcome mat. Avoiding that evidence, I stepped outside–a trail of muddy prints lead down the driveway to the right. But, they ended before the street in the middle of the concrete–no trace of mud anywhere else. Nothing in the grass. In the brightening light, I looked up and down Bayview Drive–no people, cars, bikes. No early morning rabbits or birds. Quiet. Too quiet?

Turning back towards the house…where were the footprints? Gone?

I hustled to the door and looked down at the worn, but now clean, welcome mat. Was I still asleep? Dreaming?

Closing the door and locking it behind me, I stood still–letting my eyes adjust to the dimness.

Meow. Meow. Meow.

My ears led my eyes to the kitchen. A trail of muddy paw prints ended at Chekov. Sitting on his haunches, next to an empty food dish, our scraggly, grey cat glared at me with blank, white eyes.

Meow. Meow. Meow.

#     #     #

 

Advertisements

SINKHOLE: A Speculative Fiction Short Story

•August 21, 2019 • Leave a Comment

My latest speculative fiction short story is now on Amazon. Available only for Kindle and Kindle apps. Start reading SINKHOLE today.

SINKHOLE SQUARE WITH BLURB

SILVER MEDAL FOR DELPHYS RISING

•August 4, 2019 • Leave a Comment

2019 FAPA AWARDSLake Buena Vista, FL (8/4/2018) – The Annual 2019 Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Book Awards recognized Delphys Rising by Kip Koelsch , in the category of Horror/Suspense/Thriller as a silver medal winner.

Hosted by the Florida Authors and Publishers Association, this prestigious national award is open to books published between 2018 and 2019. The judges for this national competition are librarians, educators, and publishing professionals.

“The FAPA President’s Book Award exists to promote excellence in the publishing industry by recognizing talented contemporary authors who put both heart and soul into their work. FAPA is proud to be a champion of authors and publishers going the extra mile to produce books of excellence in every aspect.” said Angelina Assanti, Past President of FAPA.

Delphys Rising is a science fiction thriller and stand-alone sequel to Koelsch’s first novel, Wendall’s Lullaby.

Medals were awarded at the annual FAPA President’s Book Awards Banquet held this year at the Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace in the Disney Springs TM Area of Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

“We are proud to announce this year’s winners who truly embody the excellence this award was created to celebrate. Their works are representative of the creative storytelling, bold concepts and innovative ideas which makes the President’s Book Awards so well respected by librarians and those in the publishing industry. We salute all of our winners for their fine work.” said FAPA’s President, Patti Brassard Jefferson.

2019 FAPA DELPHYS WITH SILVER MEDALKoelsch added, “I’m thrilled to have the recognition of literary professionals and my peers for my second novel. As a relatively new and sometimes insecure author, it’s reassuring and motivating. It makes it easier to enthusiastically move forward with my current and next writing projects.”

The Florida Authors & Publishers Association is an organization for authors, publishers, illustrators, editors, printers, and other professionals involved in the publishing industry. It focuses on providing the highest quality of information, resources, and professional development to members and others interested in the writing and publishing profession.

Koelsch lives in Dunedin, Florida, and is currently working on a third science fiction thriller, a historical fiction novella and a few science fiction short stories.

 

###

Morning Paddle

•July 15, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Underwater Green Sea Grass, Sea Grass UnderwaterGliding, glassy water

Pulsing sea grass, below

Shy sea turtle peeks between blades, feeding body

Paddler flying above takes notice, feeding soul.

tortue marine plongée algue animal pacifique protection espèce

 

This morning I was blessed with a very light breeze and mostly glassy water conditions for my outrigger canoe workout. Since this is the first morning that my schedule and the weather have cooperated (we’ve had a bunch of morning storm days over the last week or so), I was happy to grind out a steady fourteen miles.

I started my paddle early–in the dark–so I was able to enjoy the nearly full moon setting over Caladesi and Honeymoon Islands and the Gulf of Mexico. I paddle with a bright light pointing out over the ama (outrigger) of my canoe. While in the dark, for the first three or four miles, I paddled through hundreds of needle fish–skittering flashes across the surface. But the highlight was gliding over the sea grass beds and spotting the one sea turtle peaking from between the green blades.

###

Ripples

•July 9, 2019 • Leave a Comment

A smooth stone. I was looking for a smooth stone—roundish and flat, perfect for skipping. Sauntering along the shore, my neck bent and eyes scanning. It took some time, but eventually I spotted it—light gray among darker blue stones.

Kieselstein springend

The water’s edge was only feet away. I wrapped my right index finger and thumb around the stone and slid it around until it fit just right. I crouched and leaned—my right shoulder closer to the ground—and threw. The stone (or maybe it was the thrower?) was not so good—two skips and a plunk. Out of sight. I walked away.

I didn’t know I’d changed the world forever.

The ripples were small—they barely made it to the far shore. But, they did—raising and lowering the water just enough to dislodge a small toy sailboat from the bank. Bobbing inTraditional small wooden sailing boat in the pond of park the bright sunlight, the boat, the ripples, the reflection, caught the attention of its five-year old owner. Owen reacted, leapt, and hit the water like a monofilament-crippled pelican. He hadn’t learned to swim yet, and he never would.

 

 

CIRCLE OF LIFE (or Death): Part I

•July 7, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Arrière plan vers asticotsHundreds of meat-eating maggots writhed en masse at the bottom of my garbage can. The movement was revolting and mesmerizing. The putrid reek of decay burned the back of my throat. The stench was repulsive and intoxicating. My head swooned from the overstimulation.

I didn’t even think about why the trash collectors had left the mess in the bottom of the can—why the automatic dumping truck hadn’t shaken them loose. I couldn’t think. I was lost in the sight– drawn deeper into the swirling mass—my eyes, my mind. Without hesitation I climbed into the garbage can—head-first—and plunged into the maggots.

The dive wasn’t stopped short—just slowed—as the maggots redirected their attention to me—to feasting on my head. Thousands of tiny bites—hundreds of thousands—thundered in my ears until they were devoured. Silence. Once my brainstem was consumed the agonizing pain ceased. I felt nothing.

***

The re-start of Japan’s Commercial Whaling and DELPHYS RISING

•June 26, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Illustration idea for banning whaling in Japan.On July 1, 2019–only days away–Japan will once again start blatant commercial whaling. After thirty years of hiding behind the thin veil of “scientific whaling,” Japan has decided to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and hunt minke and beaked whales–at a time when demand for whale meat is at an all-time low.

When this news broke earlier this year, I was still working on my near-finished novel,

Stop the killing

Stop the killing! Save the dolphins!

Delphys Rising. One of the elements already included in the plot of the book was how dolphins–when given the means to communicate with humans–would address the dolphin drive hunts currently taking place in Japan and the Faroe Islands. The hunt in Taiji, Japan–portrayed in the documentary The Cove–was a particular focus in the thriller’s plot.

But, while I sat editing, I knew I had to weave something about Japan’s return to commercial whaling into the narrative–so I did. Most people think commercial whaling ended decades ago–in 1986 when member nations agreed to a world-wide ban through the IWC. Of course, nations that wanted to continue commercial whaling simply withdrew from the organization (or never joined)–or in the case of Japan called a limited hunt “scientific whaling.” The practice still continued across the decades–albeit “under the radar” because most media outlets had bought into the publicity surrounding the ban. Cries of “Save the Whales!” faded into the background.

COVER FINAL FRONT ONLYMy hope with Delphys Rising (in addition to people just enjoying a good story) is to raise a little awareness about Japan’s return to commercial whaling–as well as the continued slaughter through drive hunts, hunting of large whales by companies in Norway and Iceland and the capture of live dolphins for display or animal shows.

I hope you enjoy reading my latest speculative fiction thriller and I hope it prompts you to seek out more information about the whaling and dolphin drive hunts that continue to haunt our humanity from the shadows.

 

***

Delphys Rising is available as an ebook for Kindle and Kindle apps, to Kindle Unlimited subscribers and as a paperback at Amazon.com.

 

 

 
%d bloggers like this: